Campbell County was created in 1806 from Anderson and Claiborne Counties. Campbell County was named in honor of Col. Arthur Campbell (1743-1811). Col. Campbell was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and an Officer during the Revolutionary War.
Native Americans first lived in this area and several settlements have been excavated. The largest known site was located at present day Cove Lake State Park. The natural beauty and abundant resources attracted settlers as early as 1740. Elk, deer, and buffalo were common both in the richly timbered mountains and wide well-watered valleys. Resources such as timber and later iron and coal were exploited. While such resources formed the basis of early industry, agriculture was the primary commercial activity until the 20th century.
Campbell County has been marked by steady growth as settlements grew along the rivers and other routes of travel. This growth was briefly interrupted during the American Civil War. Staunchly Unionist, Campbell County is credited with providing the first three (3) companies of Union volunteers from the state of Tennessee. Campbell County was also the home of Joseph A. Cooper, who rose to the rank of Maj. General in the Union Army. Major troop movements by both northern and southern armies passed through Campbell County but fortunately most ante-bellum homes were spared destruction and many may still be seen today.
After the Civil War, life slowly returned to normal. Then in 1936, the completion of Norris Dam on Campbell County’s southern border changed Campbell County forever. While many communities were flooded and farms lost, a beautiful lake with over eight hundred (800) miles of shoreline was formed. Today Norris Lake is a major tourist attraction with many modern resorts and fine homes located near the lake. Due to the creation of Norris Lake, tourism became a major industry and remains so today. With the construction of Norris Dam, as part of the WA project, affordable abundant electricity became available. Today WA is still one of the least expensive and most reliable suppliers of electricity in the country.
Campbell County has produced many notable leaders such as Congressman John Jennings and J. Will Taylor, Educator Burgin Dossett, Movie star Grace Moore, Maj. General Joseph A. Cooper, and Four Star General Carl Wade Stiner. The story of these and many others may be viewed daily free of charge at the Campbell County Museum and Archives located in LaFollette, Tennessee. Modern Campbell County offers superb roads such as I-75, abundant inexpensive electricity, modern schools, two state-of-the-art hospitals, and low taxes coupled with unspoiled mountain wilderness and eight hundred (800) miles of pristine shoreline. While Campbell County embraces its Appalachian heritage, progress leadership is charting a course towards a bright future.